Disclaimer: The author of this article is not a professional health expert and purely a self journey experience shared with you!
Whoever knew that modern eating habits can inevitably result in a hormonal imbalance?
As with all things in life, balance and moderation are key, especially in your diet, which is a bit difficult to follow if you find yourself on a busy schedule having a window to grab drive- through or some fast-food to go. However, this period of quarantine leaves more time to think about other things while we spend more time at home.
As someone who has PCOS, i.e. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, I have been reflecting during this time of closed restaurants and a halt to deliveries. An avid lover of junk-food as in today’s contemporary lifestyle, food is engrossed into the daily activity, whether it be our evening trips to “dhabbas” for some masala fries or to pick up McDonald’s for dinner, when there is no time, loyal fast-food chains are always there for comfort and reassurance. What we tend to neglect in our minds are the repercussions of consuming unhealthy amounts of fried, greasy preservatives and inhaling an unhealthy amount of pesticides whilst unaware.
Now in this period of quarantine we find ourselves confined to home-cooked meals and time in the kitchen, a moment perhaps to browse the contents of the substances going into our bodies.
With a hormonal imbalance any nutritionist or doctor will tell you to watch your diet as it is key. Some may even ask you to avoid excessive consumption of meat and to focus primarily on your greens. Over the past two weeks of quarantine I have been observing how my hormones are adapting to these dietary changes.
Preservatives are what can be found in many processed foods, which cause hormone disruption such as weight gain, mimicking estrogen and contributing to our hormones slowly but surely going haywire. Personally, alternating or switching to more whole-foods have physically shown benefits as compared to their predecessors who have an everlasting shelf life. When going grocery shopping, if possible, search for whole grain products rather than processed food constantly on a daily basis will physically make your body feel more energised and less weighed down. Sugar is another dangerous element which is said to increase the risk of cancer itself as well as causing insulin problems leading to diabetes and other conditions which hamper a regular hormone functioning in the body, causing mood swings, excessive testosterone and weight gain.
The cataclysmic outcome of consuming unhealthy levels of preservatives, pesticides, sugar, grease, increasing or decreasing our levels of cortisol, testosterone, estrogen, progesterone or a healthy functioning impairs our body from feeling good, inducing problems which include acne, hair loss, facial hair, obesity, depression and an abundant list of issues which can be worked on by adjusting our diet plan and adding a regimen of 15 minutes of exercise and stretches, even walking to our daily routine which releases serotonin and endorphins which significantly benefit us, decreasing stress levels we may not be aware of ourselves.
Junk-food contains phthalates, which are chemicals used to lubricate plastics in products to make them more flexible and durable; these chemicals are used in cosmetics, toys, footwear and the processing of food itself, especially fast-food! These chemicals contribute to disrupting the metabolic process and have even said to play a part in the current obesity epidemic in the world.
Personally, googling recipes, asking friends and experimenting in the kitchen, as well as researching more about food products and their health benefits, has proved a useful utilisation of time and my body and state of mind has been affected in a tremendously positive way. Our diet is 70% of what makes up a healthy lifestyle. If we find a balance between satiating our cravings from time to time, preferably a tad more sporadically than we would like, and trying to fit in more home-cooked meals which are richer in protein and where we have the control to choose which nutrients and oils are being used for our consumption.
Ami Zota, an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at George Washington University conducted a study to anticipate the effect of platelets on those who ate fast-food regularly vs those who did less, has said “Preparing food at home may represent a win-win for consumers. Home-cooked meals can be a good way to reduce sugar, unhealthy fats, and salt.”
Always see a professional for your own personal journey, too and research a lot. All our bodies and hormones are different, so what worked for our author may not work for you - or it might!